**scroll to bottom of post to have this read for you**

Jake walked in the house and Eli (S3) greeted him with this warning, “Mama has OCD today.”


“OCD.  Old Cranky Disorder.”

Silence.  Then Jake said, “Well, that would work if cranky was spelled with a C but it’s spelled with a K.”

“CRANKY IS SPELLED WITH A C!”  I hollered from the kitchen.

“Then I guess she does have OCD,” Jake agreed.

Yesterday I woke up and everywhere I looked there was a mess.  Jake’s semi truck was broke down so we were on this “are you going to work? are you staying home? are you going this afternoon? are you staying home? can you get a load this late? are you staying home? I guess you are staying home today” roller coaster.  A day off is great when you plan it or you KNOW it’s a full day off, a day off when you don’t know when or if you are going in to work is something else.

I had asked the boys – Eli (S3) and Abe (S4) – to help me get some things picked up real quick.  I do this with them often, this is not a “What on earth does our mother mean by pick up all the shoes?” moment.

I gave them each a handful of things to do while I was busy cleaning along with them.

The problem is that when S4 was supposed to be picking up the items on the dining room table and putting them away, he noticed that Liberty looked a little dusty from a roll in the field and so he washed her instead.  And then because he hadn’t used soap, he figured she would be fine to just come into the house…and lay on Deloris (I have to introduce you to Deloris yet, she is my awesome old lady chair).

S3 attempted to pick up but he kept finding things he liked while cleaning – not shocking, as most of the stuff out was already their’s.  So when he was supposed to be sweeping the floor, he was playing with the slime he forgot was still on the coffee table because it had been hidden under some clothes they were supposed to take care of.

Meanwhile, I am attempting to just get my counter clean.  Because Jake was home, I had made everyone breakfast.  Because I had spent a great part of my day the day before painting the house, I had left the kitchen a mess and just went to bed and now I had a super messy kitchen I had made pancakes in so now it was a full out disaster zone – complete with paint stained sink due to the paintbrush washing the day before.

And, I really needed to clean up my flowers in the kitchen vase which led to cleaning the windows that were driving me batty which led to scrubbing the kitchen sink before I felt it was clean enough to wash dishes.

It was a whole thing.

But after getting on to the boys for the zillionth time it seemed, I snapped and called them in.  “WHAT IF,” I began, and then realized I needed to calm my voice for them to hear me, “You wanted dinner and you asked me to make dinner and I said I would but then I took you fishing, and we played a game outside and I helped you clean your room.  All those things are good things, but you asked me to make dinner and I had said I would but I wasn’t and you were getting mad because you were so hungry and you didn’t know why I didn’t just make dinner.  You are doing that to me now.  I just need you to CLEAN UP THE MESSES and you are doing other things.  Help me get this done and then you can go on doing your good things.”

S3 raised his hand.  I should have known this would be bad.

“Mama, do you have OCD?”


“OCD.  Old Cranky Disorder.”

S4 gasped.  “You are SO GROUNDED!”

S3 giggled.  “Mr. Boyd has it (Mr. Boyd is the science teacher).  He says he has had it a long time and it’s better to let you know he has it and you can have it until you are 152 years old – which is how old Mr. Boyd says he is.”


Throughout the rest of the day they teased me about being cranky.  Jake asked me regularly how cranky I was.  Nothing makes a wife and/or mama crankier than being asked if she is still cranky.

When Jake took a nap later that day, I had to keep reminding the boys to be quiet and when my nephew Hunter went screaming through the house because someone was after him, he laid on the couch sobbing, “She is so mean!  She is so cranky!”  (And then he said things like “Now I can’t breathe!  It’s so hot with a pillow on my head!” and I had to giggle because all I did was tell him to sit on the couch and calm down. )

When the boys asked me approximately five zillion times when dinner was going to be done and two of them made faces and gagged at the menu, I snapped at them.

When I had the kitchen basically clean and one of the boys decided my dinner wasn’t worth eating and so he made himself eggs and left the mess all over, I snapped at him.

When I asked the boys to clear the table and they got in a game of tag and I reminded them of the conversation earlier today, S3 informed his cousins that “This is what OCD is.”

They cleared the table…and then did this….


The boys hijacked my phone tonight. They also made slime.

A post shared by Denise Dykstra (@life4boys) on

When the boys started the dishwasher half full with dishes still all over the counter and sink, I let it go.  I gave up.  I finished loading the dishwasher, I washed the counters, I pulled the fresh baked blueberry pies from the oven, I froze the uneaten zucchini bread loaf I had made them for dinner, I cut up the brownies for a later night snack for them that were still warm, I answered my husband when he hollered at me above the television to see if I had heard whatever had just been said on the tv, and finally I plopped down in the now dry Deloris and took a big deep breath.

“Give thanks in all things,” I reminded myself.

S2 walked into the room, looking for me.  “I need you to take me to work in the morning.  I don’t know what time yet and I don’t know where exactly but it’s like 15 or so minutes away.”

While he is giving me this detailed information, S3 and S4 get in a silly fight that turns into one of them crying and one of them sulking away.

How I reacted to it all was not great.  I sent the fighting boys to bed, I made sure S2 knew he better have a map and details, I huffed myself to the bathroom to take a shower and send myself to bed but one of the boys was in the shower – why mine? – and he used up most of what was left of my last bar of soap washing his hat (the white S of his Michigan State University hat is sparkly white today, I will grant him that).

All the while, my husband, who took a nap earlier in the day, is out rototilling his garden by the last light of the day.  I can hear him whistling loudly all the way in the house.

When I got myself all cuddled up in bed, I felt guilty and went to tell the boys to have “Sweet dreams” because saying “Good night” at this point didn’t seem believable.

S4 gave me a big, really great, hug.

They still teased me about being cranky but they did it with grins and hugs.  And we all felt better.

I crawled into bed, exhausted, so tired…when S3 came into the room to tell me goodnight one more time.

“I am sorry you had a rough day,” he said as he kissed my cheek, “but I do really think you have OCD.  Why do you care if the house looks nice?  We are just going to mess it up again.”

“Because sometimes, honey, I just want a clean house.”

Silence.  “Okay.  I’ll help you tomorrow.”


My word for the year is JOY.  And I have been clinging to it like you cannot imagine this year.  I am searching for Joy in all the things at all the times.  Yesterday was hard on me and I wondered why it was so over the top hard on me.  I felt totally drained, empty.  And as I pushed the grocery cart around the near empty story this morning at 7am so I could make a cup of coffee when I got home, it dawned on me that I haven’t even once this week picked up my Bible.  Not once did read a devotional.  And I didn’t do it much last week either.  I haven’t written a word just for myself in over a week.

How can I fill into my boys when I am empty on the inside?

I can’t.

So I am sharing with you a hopefully humorous story in hopes that it reminds you to remember to fill yourself up first with God’s goodness so you can be full to pour into those you love most.

And now I am off to have Eli fulfill that promise of helping me today…since I am apparently all OCD.

Maybe we can find a new meaning for OCD.

You know, since Cranky is apparently spelled with a Capitol K.


Trying something new….

My husband does not like to read ALL MY WORDS so I did a recording of this post and you can listen to it here.  I think this may be a new thing!  Thoughts?


Tagged with →  
Share →

2 Responses to Cranky With a Capitol K

  1. Joan says:

    This was so nice. I Love hearing you read it. I can see the whole thing in my mind’s eye.

    • life4boys says:

      The boys are loving having me read them so I think this is going to be my new thing. Thanks for reading! The boys are STILL teasing me about OCD.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *